Search

So, I Read This Book Today

Editing, Proofreading, Reviewing and Other Stuff

Tag

terror

Review: Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro – Available July 1!!!

dark
Mystery, suspense and a good dose of ghost story set in the backwoods of Louisiana. What could be more delicious?

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. – William Butler Yeats

There are souls which fall from heaven like flowers, but ere they bloom are crushed under the foul tread of some brutal hoof. – Jean Paul

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

The nature of evil. Dissected, pulled apart, studied, and still, no one really knows, do we? Evil is the pedophile and the serial killer. The crazed and the cruel. The dark shadows that walk the night. We might agree on that. But what of those dark, quiet evils that live next door? The ones who smile to your face and wish you good morning, while horrors live in their basements – and the basements of their souls?

Malaise LaCroix never really had a chance, even before she was born. The daughter of the local whore and ‘hoodoo woman’ in backwoods Louisiana, Malaise, or Mala for short, ekes out a living in the swamps, fishing and watching for the ubiquitous gators that can pull her under and kill her in a heartbeat. But it is the darkness and shadows, the crazed and the cruel, who may take her life in the long run. For Mala has found a body, floating in the swamp. A body that some very rich, and very powerful – and very mad – people do not want found.

Lainey Prince is the daughter of the Reverend Prince, he of righteousness and purity, the king of the pulpit and voice of god. Finding her floating in the swamp, Mala pulls her out and calls the police, thereby dropping herself into a whirlwind of terror. For the townsfolk are all determined to blame her for Lainey’s death. She is, after all, the daughter of a black hoodoo witch, right? So the righteous and the pure of heart (can we all hear a halleluiah, amen?) determine to punish Mala and her mother, Jasmine. And purity of heart has nothing to do with these people who hide behind their “faith” in order to commit the most horrendous of evils. Funny how religion works that way. . . Things become even more interesting when Landry, Lainey’s younger brother and rising football star, comes to Mala, determined to learn the truth no matter what it may be. Did Mala really kill Lainey in some sort of black rite? Or is the woman he has loved from afar for so very long truly innocent? What Landry learns is more than he ever could have expected. For Lainey might be dead. But she is far from gone. And she is one very unhappy spirit.

Dark Paradise grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let me go. Of course, I am a sucker for a mystery/suspense/thriller novel set in Louisiana. Curled up in my chair, the lights out except for the glow from my reader, soft southern Blues playing, I immersed myself in the story, walking with Mala through the swamps, smelling the scents and hearing the cry of the insects, the grunts and roars from the gators and razorbacks, feeling the heat against my skin, even as the temperature of the night drops lower and the crickets begin to sing outside my window. The faces of the characters, their wrinkles from the harsh weather and the harsh life, the cold eyes and superstitious hatreds all come clear in my mind, rising up like mist in my memory.

Visits to Angie Sandro’s father’s family in Louisiana inspired Dark Paradise, and those visits flow through in her writing. There are no missed notes, no cliché to her story. Instead, there is a touch of realism to the story which sooths and comforts the knowledgeable when it comes to the quirks and fallacies, the kindness and the cruelty of the Southern mind.

There is only one thing that really itched my “What the Huh?” spot. As LaCroixs, Jasmine and Mala descend from a long line of “witchy women” which reaches back to the shores of Africa. Tied to the Loa Baron LaCroix, the women take his name, and supposedly, his spirit as well. Much like the Loa Baron Samedi, Baron LaCroix, also one of the five Ghede, are often rude, crude and oversexed, but they are not by nature evil. LaCroix is rather more fun-loving with a deep sense of play. Something that isn’t depicted in his interactions in this novel. Be that as it may, a person who shares no knowledge of Voudon, of the cultures and rituals of this ancient religion, should not be bothered by this not-quite-realistic portrayal. Artistic license forgives much, and in this case it pushes forward the story in a way both interesting and frightening by turns. And yes, Ms. Sandro, I do get your twisted sense of humour! Overall? I completely enjoyed the book and am looking forward to Dark Sacrifice. Bring on the hoodoo, women, I am ready!

—————————-

I received this book from Grand Central Publishing in return for an honest review. Honestly? I loved it. If you love what I like to call Southern Suspense, you will undoubtedly like this book. It publishes JULY 1, 2014 so be sure to pick it up!

Advertisements

Review: The Terminals: Spark – Michael F. Stewart – STUNNING!

The question of afterlife disappears, when we start to recognize the fact that we did not existed before our birth and the same will happen after death. ― Sipendr

terminal
An incredible book of horror, psychology, and intrigue that I HIGHLY recommend! Not for the under 18 crowd – this is intense stuff!

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.― Mark Twain

Joshua Bruns said that the trouble with quotes about death is that 99.999 perent of them are made by people who are still alive. So, I’m part of the 0.001 percent. – Captain Kade “Morph” Harmina, US Army Terminal

If you knew that you were going to die soon, that your death would have no meaning other than pain – your own and that of your loved ones – would you be willing to sacrifice what little comfortable time you might have remaining in order to save the lives of others? Causa moriendi est causa vivendi. Dying for a reason is a good reason to keep living.

But what happens after death occurs? Does religion really have the answers? Or is it both more and less than what the human mind may conceive? If the afterlife is real, does our energy simply sustain what our mind conceives, fading into oblivion as the currants of life expire?

Questions upon questions, with no answers in sight. Well, until you are dead, and then will those questions actually be answered? Or is the concept of an afterlife merely a conceit, a naïve attempt to ease the terrors of the unknown?

Michael F. Stewart has written a horrifying book in The Terminals Episode 1: Spark. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I mean horrifying in the best possible definition of literary excellence. This is a spine-chilling novel, full of disturbing layers of both the physical and metaphysical. The story reached down inside my mind and jerked at the lids of all the mentally hardened boxes it contains, the memories inherent in a mind tormented by PTSD. the dark terrors at the edges of death, only to return, kicking and screaming, into the agony of life once more.

When Lieutenant Colonel Christine Kurzow awakens in a hot, dusty field hospital in the burning desert of Iraq, the first words she hears are those of General F. Aaron: Dying for a reason is a good reason to live, Colonel. A strange comment, and one that opens the door to a perverted, powerful, and deeply disturbing book that reaches into the mind, distorting science, religion, belief, and the basic tenants of the human concept of the afterlife.

Kurzow is crippled by guilt after the loss of eleven of those under her command – a loss that could have been prevented if she had taken one shot – a shot which would have killed a child, but saved her team. A rising star in the Army hierarchy, Kurzow’s misjudgment, and subsequent suicide attempt, is a public relations nightmare for the Army, one that is quickly swept under the rug. No punishment attached, rather a Medal of Honor awarded by the military machine. No punishment from her peers, but a deadly degree of self-punishment in the form of a sharp blade, and a massive number of pills. Now, she is pulled back from the brink and pushed into a secret military unit. A unit that accomplishes the impossible – communication with the dead. The only problem? One must die that many may live.

What is most terrifying about Stewart’s tale is just how clearly I could see in my mind’s eye everything that was happening, in grotesque detail. And how horrific the religious visions of the afterlife really are. For, the method the group uses to track down the killers and terrorists in the afterlife is based on religious beliefs – the sharing of the Terminal’s beliefs with those of the person they seek in the afterlife.

Can Christine gain her redemption by her own death? She will be given the chance – but before she can reach for salvation, she must handle the euthanizing of the Gnostic monk, Charlie. For Charlie is an expert on Hillar the Killer, a psychopathic mass murderer with a minimum of eighty kills under his belt. Charlie not only shares Hillar’s religion, but also understands the depths of Hillar’s psychopathy. Charlie must find Hillar in the afterlife – the lives of eleven kidnapped children depend upon him. And when an incompetent, glory hound cop blunders what should have been a simple shot, killing the killer, Charlie the monk must die in order to save them.

Can Christine convince the monk that he must die in order to save the children? And can Charlie track Hillar through the brutalities of the Gnostic deep – and then pull the needed information from a creature of pure evil? Finally, can Christine, an Atheist, truly work through a system that relies upon meshing the religious beliefs of the Terminal and their prey?

Though one believes in nothing, there are moments in life when one accepts the religion of the temple nearest at hand.  ― Victor Hugo

More questions – of religion and faith, of the good of the many over the good of the one. Of honor and pride, patriotism and heroism. And even greater questions of morality and ethics and an even simpler question – are the Terminals really terminal, or is there something truly evil in the works – an evil promulgated upon the innocent by a selfish, sociopathic coward with a god complex?

Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanor. ― Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (The Standard Edition)

Morph says it best. Listen, don’t fixate so much on death. It doesn’t matter. When we are alive, we are not dead, and when we are dead, we are no longer alive. There is no in-between. No dying. It is the dying that most people fear. Of course, when she made that statement, she was already dead.

I received The Terminals Episode 1: Spark from Netgalley.com in return for a realistic review. If I could give the book ten stars, I certainly would. It has nothing to do with whether or not I received the book for free and everything to do with the fact that this one of the best books I have read in recent memory. I can hardly wait for the next Episode and will drop everything to read it to see if it lives up to its stunning début.

terminal
An amazing story of horror, psychology, and the depths of belief. HIGHLY recommended. Not for the under 18 crowd.

Yippee! Beta Reading Book Three – The Pierced Series by J. C. Mells

Perfect Cover 2
The cover for “Perfect” – Book three of the J. C. Mells “Pierced” series!

Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!

Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!

 

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”

Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.

But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.

Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..

pierce
Who is Pierce?

______________________________

Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!

Review: Nothing Is Negotiable by Mark Bentsen -Stunning Debut!

The lust of avarice as so totally seized upon mankind that their wealth seems rather to possess them than they possess their wealth.- Pliny the Elder

 Never underestimate the power of jealousy and the power of envy to destroy. Never underestimate that. Oliver Stone

bentsen
Mystery, suspense and terror in Montana and Southern Alberta!
Click to order the book, you won’t be sorry.

I had to double check. Really. It was absolutely imperative for me to find out if Mark Bentsen was really a first time author or if he was a well-known author writing under another name. Nope. First one. Well, will you look at that?

Bentsen has written a novel of suspense and mystery that can proudly stand amongst the works of the great suspense writers of today. His grasp of the written word is exceptional, drawing you into the story and refusing to let you go from the first line until the last page is turned.

To begin my paean to all things Bentsen, I must first point out the beauty of the language, as he takes you from the mountains and plains of Montana and up into the Southern Alberta plains. What first drew me to the book when it showed up as one of the daily selections offered by one of my “meet this new author” e-mails was the setting. Montana, and especially Glacier National Park, is breathtaking, allowing amazing vistas around every turn, whether it be rolling prairies or the stunning escarpments of the Rocky Mountains. I was hoping to drop myself into the landscape, and Bentsen does not disappoint, drawing mind pictures of great beauty. That, in itself, deserves a good book rating. I love books that offer me this short of “mental video” of what the characters are seeing.

The characters themselves are deeply real. Bonnie and Luke have had a hard time over the last year, as the droughts damaged their grasslands, forcing the sell off of their cattle and putting a severe strain on their marriage. But now, as financial stresses come off, they are thrilled to have Bonnie, a well-known wildlife photographer, asked to speak at a conference in the amazing Glacier National Park. A chance to grow Bonnie’s business as well as take a well deserved vacation to one of the most beautiful spots on the Earth.

What happens to Bonnie and Luke is an intense roller coaster ride of terror, as Bonnie is taken during a visit to Cardston, Alberta, and no one at the RCMP, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, believes Luke when he reports her missing. What happens next is shocking, terrifying, and kept me reading straight through. I literally couldn’t put the book down.

There is a great deal of evil in the book, the kind of evil that one person will commit against another for reasons of greed, envy, and pure heartlessness. There are also a couple of people who are truly warm and helpful, going out of their way to do the right thing. There is one storyline that runs amongst the many in the book that was somewhat of a stretch for me, but it was completely necessary to the story, and actually made me give a mean little chuckle as the main character is pulled up short by his own petard for doing what all men of a certain age are bound to do – or to at least contemplate.

The denouement is intense, and kept me flipping pages at an astonishing rate, spinning along to the end while barely breathing. Overall? This is a highly recommended thriller/mystery novel. Just remember to start it only when you have the time to block out the rest of the world until you reach the end!

P.S. – LOVE the cover!!!!

TWO Happy Dances!!

wicked
Click the cover to purchase!

The amazing Jillian Klein Der Lowe just shot me an e-mail letting me know that her book, Wicked, just hit the #3 spot in her genre on Amazon!!

applause
Icon courtesy of
http://unf.edu
Thank you!

Click the cover to grab the book from Amazon FOR FREE!!!! Then, of course, after you have read it, I am sure Jillian would love a review. (Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge!)  My review is here in case you want to refresh or haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet.

Congratulations, Jillian!!

Now, for even MORE good news, we turn to another wonderful author, J. C. Mells, author of the Pierced series.

J. C. is happy to announce that her next book in the series, Pinked is nearing the end of editing, and will be out soon! Pinked continues the adventures of Pierce and Mia, a fascinating pair, with a story that is one of the most interesting I have read in recent memory.  Watch for the review here, and for publication at Amazon soon. Until then, you really MUST pick up your own copy of Pierced! Click on the book cover to order. My review is hereIt is only 99c right now, and J. C. is sure to be a wonderful addition to your ‘must-buy-as-soon-as-published’  author list!

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Escaped, volume 1.5 of the Pierced series! It is also only 99c for a short time at Amazon.

Congratulations, J. C.!

Shrieking and Jumping up and down! J. C. just sent along the cover for PINKED!!!

Drool worthy, huh?  Click on the cover to see the video trailer!PINKED BC3

J. C. just sent me the cover!
Click on it for the YouTube Video
for the upcoming book!
Squeeee!!!!
pierced
For now, Pierced is only 99c at Amazon.
Click cover to order!
escaped
Click to purchase from Amazon!
Only 99c for a short time.
You KNOW you won’t be able to live without it
after reading Pierced!

Review: Seven Unholy Days – Jerry Hatchett

“American society has grown so dependent on computer and other electrical systems that we have created our own Achilles’ heel of vulnerability, ironically much greater than those of other, less developed nations. When deprived of power, we are in many ways helpless, as the New York City blackout made clear. In that case, power was restored quickly because adjacent areas could provide help. But a large-scale burnout . . . would create a much more difficult situation.”*

Jon Kyl- Unready For This Attack – The Washington Post April 16, 2005

Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning – Rich Cook

Will the future bring your wisdom to me?
Or will darkness rule the kingdom for all eternity? Nostradamus

A TEN Star Review for intelligence and terrifying reality

Click for the Jerry Hatchett Website.
Click for the Jerry Hatchett Website.

Seven Unholy Days scared the breath out of me. Not because of the amazing writing, which it was, but due to the absolutely clear-sighted horrifying truth of the tale.

In Jerry’s last thriller, Pawnbroker, he used his extensive knowledge of computer forensics to create a scenario which lent a stark reality to his work. Now, in Seven Unholy Days, he goes further still, using his technical and computing expertise to create a novel of power and believability that will keep you awake at night.
From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step” Denis Diderot 1713-1784

In Jerry’s newest thriller, he posits a scenario that is only too realistic. The complete collapse of the American power grid at the hands of a powerful, wealthy religious fanatic. The whole country goes dark. The terrorist’s demand? A “Decree of Darkness.” America is to remain in the dark, no electrical power allowed. Not wishing to bow to the demands of a terrorist, the President allows the lead character of the book, Matt Decker, the computer specialist who designed and installed the new control systems for the American power grid, to turn the power back on. What happens is horrifying and real enough to chill my blood.

The death of an individual is a tragedy. The death of a million a statistic. Joseph Stalin
p
The setting of the book, Iuka, Mississipi, where the “Great Central Electric” power transfer station is located is right in the author’s comfort zone and his description of the area and the people draw you into the story. You can almost feel the heat of a Mississippi day and feel the humidity. As in “Pawnbroker” the characters are fully realized and well-rounded, lending them a believability that makes you like them, or hate them in a realistic manner.

What I found most scary about the book, other than what actually happened, is how it happened. How greed, fanaticism and political self-serving can allow an incident of completely horrifying consequence to occur. While some religious fanatics are committing abominable acts with no remorse what-so-ever in the name of “God” others are committing these acts, and worse, simply for money. While the acts of these supposed humans are gut-wrenching, they also hold that absolute ring of veracity that is without question one of the things that will cut the reader soul deep.

There are, of course, secondary stories that run throughout the book. In Pawnbroker, Jerry wove those secondary stories in a way that kept you interested and involved. Here, he goes deeper, weaving those stories in heartbreaking and chilling ways that make you think not only of his main theme, but of wider themes of fanaticism, greed, child abuse and human brutality which both open the mind and darken the soul. In the words of Herbert Ward, “Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” A rather odd quote for the ideas I have been discussing in this review, but it will make sense when you read the book. And you really, really MUST read this book. It is a thriller and fiction, sure.

However, it is more than that. It is, in its way, a treatise on the power of fanaticism, the fragility of the world financial markets, and the vulnerability of the human race to its dependency on technology, as well as the lengths humans will go to find meaning in their lives through the abuse of religious ideology. It is one of those rare thrillers that has seated itself deeply into my psyche and will come back to haunt me in the future.

_____________________
* The John Kyl quote refers specifically to the effect of a major EMP pulse over the United States, but it is appropriate to this review.
This book was provided to me by the author, however, that fact has no impact upon any review I may write, now or in the future.

Review: Pierced – J. C. Mells

pierced

Who knows what true loneliness is – not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion.
Joseph Conrad

All universal moral principles are idle fancies.”
Marquis de Sade

This isn’t just a five-star review, ladies and gents. This is a full on, jumping up and down, screaming and squeeing and generally making an ass out of myself I am so excited about the book!

Where do I start? There is just so much HERE. . .

This is, in a way, as Mells describes it, an Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance, which is, as everyone knows by now, my favorite genre. However, that “title” doesn’t even begin to delve into the wonder that is Mells writing.

To be honest, when I first started the book, I was hesitant after the first couple of pages. Maybe her particular sort of “crazy” was a little too close to home for me. Memory. Obsession. Horror and fear. All living inside her head, counting steps and tiles and pain pain pain. Then, I kept turning pages. And becoming more and more engrossed into a world which includes, as I said, the UF genre, but is so very very much more.

Pierce is just a very small child when we first meet her. The daughter of an addict, living in a hell of someone else’s making, she is ‘different’ in some way she is not aware of. Different enough that her mother hands her books, and orders her to tell anyone she meets that she has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Never show anyone what you can do. Never. If you slip up and anyone questions you about it, you tell them you have Asperger’s. Do you understand me?”

Here are some books on the subject.”

Seemingly pretty strange for a child of six. But then, when that child can watch a foreign language movie and subsequently become fluent in said language with no training, that in itself is enough to worry that your child might become a pawn in someones perverted chess game. And that is only one of Pierce’s strange and wonderful abilities.

The perversions that flow through this book, and in no way do I mean that in a bad way, are horrifying, painful and yet a loud cry from the depths of the human soul. The strength of the human soul, and its ability to survive what no one should ever know exists, much less be required to survive.

You are strong, you are a fighter, he will not know this, and you will win. Men will always underestimate the supposed weaker sex, even if they suspect them to be dangerous.”

Mells takes the ‘modern fairy tale’ stories of UF and turns them on their heads, giving them a deeper and ‘truer’ view of the creatures of myth and legend. Pierced touches on the twists and turns of the mythological soul – and yet, her grasp on these creatures, no matter how perfect, is outshone by her ability to touch upon the true depth of depravity that the human soul is able to plumb.

Action, adventure, mystery, fantasy, suspense, it is all here. Wonderful and completely and with a raw brutality that sucks in the reader, keeping you on the edge of your seat and drawing you into a world so very like our own, and yet so very strange. The depths of mental illness (or something similar), the terror of living on the run, hallucinations and a really good recipe for steak and kidney pie. I know, weird, right? But so very right.

I highly recommend you take a chance on Pierced. You are in for a book of depth and character I haven’t seen since, well, I can’t really remember off the top of my head. But take a pinch of Othello, throw in a heaping handful of Mildred Pierce and a big splash of Jack Kerouack. Serve with a blast of What It’s Like by Everlast. Stir well and serve with a side of desperate hope. Just read it.

Book courtesy of J. C. Mells, http://www.jcmells.com/

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑